Friday, July 27, 2012

With tragedy comes difference

Until now I haven't really spoken about my take on the Aurora shootings because I want those who survived and those who are mourning to be able to become at peace with what happened rather than be overwhelmed with the millions of opinions on what happened, but I can't help but give my opinion on how people have responded to the tragedy.

In times of tragedy I like to think there are three types of people in regard to their faith; tragic Christians, tragic Non-believers, and those who are Constant in their chosen faith.

Now, I'm all about a person finding their faith and holding strong to it through thick and thin. So is God. Unfortunately, these tragic Christians can't seem to find God in their everyday life, only in times where they have no other way to explain the powerless feeling they have when tragedy strikes. They don't see God's work in all of their accomplishments. Now, God is all about helping in times of ultimate powerlessness ( 2 Corinthians 12: 9- "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.") but more than that He wants us, as Christians, to live the life as a constant Christian with all of its benefits. Only relying on God in times of tragedy is like taking credit for all the good things He has done in your life. It isn't fair to God to keep Him away from His beautiful creation that is you.

Unfortunately, there is another group on the other side of the spectrum, the tragic Non-believers. My heart aches for these people because they lose faith in God because of a man-made tragedy. I have a slight obsession with Mumford and Son's song "Hold on to What You Believe" because it has a Christian tie. The chorus goes, "But hold on to what you believe in the light, when the darkness has robbed you of all its sight." Now, if that isn't like 2 Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight" I should just end this post right now! I wish every Christian, or any person of faith for that matter, would listen to this song. I haven't come across a tragedy that has made me lose my faith but I can't imagine how terrible that would feel, to lose so much hope, and so much trust in Christ. I have been fortunate enough to know that the peace that I feel with Christ in times of good, or in the light, will carry me through the darkness.

Lastly, there is a group of people that I think I relate to most. These constant Christians, or constant Believers I think are best described by the woman who wrote this post about the Aurora shooting. This woman was in the theater with her husband and kids when James Holmes attacked. Her whole family survived and praises God for that. She responds to tragic non-believers, or constant non-believers on the internet asking if Christians "still think God is a Merciful God." In the post she answers whole-heartedly YES. Towards the end of the post, she writes something that could sum up my entire post I think. She says, "God is always good. Man is not. Don't get the two confused."

I thank God for directing me to read her post because it is a constant reminder that God is good, even when tragedy strikes. I urge anyone who read this post to read the woman's post above because it is a great reminder that not everyone who was involved in the shooting lost their faith, and not everyone who goes through life's tragedies will blame God for it.

So I leave you with her words: "God is always good. Man is not. Don't get the two confused."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Every store, vendor, taxi and boat.

Truly, I don't know where to begin. There are SO many aspects I could focus on about my trip from Ghana and I'm sure they will each come out at some point or another in this blog! Oh and I have coffee with me today...even though it's as hot in St. Louis as it was in Ghana...maybe even hotter!

I think for today I am going to focus on how incredibly easy it was to know that Ghana was Christian just by driving through the towns...I didn't even have to leave the bus to feel the acceptance of God's presence there. It's funny because my Professor said that last time she went to Ghana the plane she was on going over there was full of missionaries and she laughed because Ghana is so predominately Christian that the country doesn't need to have people come over and convert the my opinion it's the US that needs a lesson in faith from the Ghanaians! 

Every store, every vendor, every boat has some Christian tie to it, except for in the North where there is more of a Muslim influence. Let me tell you, the names of the stores we saw went from 'My Savior Coldstore' to 'He Lives Clothing'. The taxis and the trotros(public busses) had different Bible verses, many had different Psalms on the back window. For some people on our trip it was kind of comedic but for me it was just a reinforcement of what I was talking about here (ok it was funny when I saw 'Chaste Dry Cleaners') If you didn't go to the link I understand, but it was a previous post about Romans 1:16 that states, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." Ghana was unashamedly declaring their faith and I wish I had the guts to do it here. 

What I thought was living with no shame for believing in the gospel was NOTHING compared to how the Ghanaians do. It was a big wake up call for me, not that I was still ashamed of being a Christian but I'm not doing everything I can to declare that I am! Everyone I spoke to I could feel God's presence, the smile of the kids in their school uniform was a sign that God was there for me. 

One of my friends yesterday asked me flat out, "Was it hard?" Such an open question, with an infinite amount of answers. Yes, it was harder than I could ever imagine seeing kids with Kwashiorkor, men without the ability to move their legs begging on the streets and having to look the other way, it was hard seeing the desperation of men trying to all sell me the same souvenir, it was hard to see the mad woman naked on the street when there was a BMW dealership across the street, and it was hard feeling like I couldn't do a single thing about any of it. On the other hand, this beautiful country left me desiring their lifestyle. When most people think of Africa they think of the infomercials with sick children and dry desert land. Yes, I saw some of that, but what they don't show on those informercials is the rich culture, vibrant colors, and fruitful landscape that a lot of Africa is made up of.  They also don't show the fact for Ghana at least that these people are happy. They don't need all the fancy technology or clothing that we Americans seem to think we need. They need their family, a home to live in, foot to eat, and their faith apparently. What a life. These beautiful people rely on their faith more than I think I ever have in my life and it is incredible what God has done for these men, women, and children. 

While we were on the trip someone asked, "Could you ever live here?" and it got me thinking how much I would LOVE to live this simpler lifestyle. I think by going to Africa again and relying on God to bring me through whatever is placed in my life would be ABSOLUTELY life changing. I answered the questioning saying that in a heartbeat I would move to Africa in exchange for a simpler life (sorry Mom, Dad, and friends!) but it pains me to wonder if I could actually live and thrive here because physically with my skin and my reliance on Western Medicine. I hate that those two things are holding me back. I'd have to get used to the food too...

So today rather than a question, I have a suggestion for you. Try and live a simpler life. I'm not saying go throw everything out and live in a mud hut, but maybe pause every once in a while and see where God is around you. Be grateful for what you do have and desire to put God in more parts of your life. We all have those parts in our life that we don't think we need Him or He isn't there, but He is, we just have to look a little harder. 

Shoot me an email at if you want to hear more about Ghana, I would love to meet anyone for coffee or have a good phone call about different parts of the trip because everyone knows now how much I love talking about my trip!!